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We pursued something similar in our attempt to create a model that 
matches leaders identifed as receiving the most nominations and matching 
them to their nearest peers for implementation of behavior change programs.

Valente, T. W., & Davis, R. L. (1999). Accelerating the diffusion of 
innovations using opinion leaders.  The Annals of the American Academy 
of the Political and Social Sciences, 566, 55-67.

You might also consult Borgatti's Key Player paper and software:
Borgatti, S. (2006). Identifying key players in a social network. 
Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory 
<>, 12, 21-34.

- Tom

Alexander Nikolaev wrote:

>*****  To join INSNA, visit  *****
>Dear SOCNET members,
>I am new to this area of research, and have a very general question. As I
>understand, social network science currently focuses on describing communications in
>various environments via mathematical modeling (e.g., writing mathematical
>expressions to describe communication mechanisms, proposing regression-like models,
>estimating coefficients for such models using the often-mentioned SIENA, etc.). I'd
>like to know if any effort has been put forth to create methodologies for
>optimization on social networks, with a goal of developing provably convergent
>algorithms that find the best strategies for influencing networks in order to
>achieve some pre-specified goal, GIVEN a model. Any advice/references would be much
>Thank you.
>Alex Nikolaev.
>Adjunct Assistant Professor,
>Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering,
>Northwestern University.
>SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
>network researchers ( To unsubscribe, send
>an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
>UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

Thomas W. Valente, PhD
Director, Master of Public Health Program
Department of  Preventive Medicine
Keck  School of Medicine
University of Southern California
1000 S. Fremont Ave., Unit #8
Building A Room 5110		
Alhambra CA 91803		
phone: (626) 457-4139
cell: (626) 429-4123
fax: (626) 457-6699
email: [log in to unmask]

Social Networks and Health: Models, Methods, and Applications: (promo code: 28569)

My personal webpage:

The Empirical Networks Project

Evaluating Health Promotion Programs
(Oxford U. Press):

SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
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